Porsche has plans for mid-engined, V8-powered sports car with 961 moniker

Article by Christian Andrei, on May 5, 2011

Porsche fans are getting excited about reports that plans are underway for a mid-engined, V-8-powered sports car that will be positioned between the 911 and the 918 Spyder.

This model, which may arrive at dealerships as early as 2013, is likely to rival the Ferrari 458 Italia and the McLaren MP4-12C. It’s speculated that the sports car will get the 961 name and will be priced at $280,000. The 961 moniker is reminiscent of the 1980s Group B racecar based on the 959.

This new range-topping vehicle will use lightweight engineering techniques from the 911 GT2 RS and it is also set to receive a carbon fiber, monocoque chassis.

The 961 is powered by a V-8 engine but it’s still uncertain which one it will be exactly. It’s possible that it will get a detuned version of the 500-hp, 4.8-liter turborcharged V-8 from the Panamera Turbo and Cayenne Turbo.

Auto Express thinks that this may be too heavy and so it may instead have a turbocharged version of the 3.4-liter V-8 that powers the RS Syder racecar.

But regardless of the engine, the output is expected to be about 600hp, with a highly ideal power-to-weight ratio. The 961’s aesthetics will take inspiration from the present Panamera and Cayman as well as from the next-generation 911 that’s set to arrive in 2012.

It’s also expected to have an appearance that’s similar to the 918 RSR racecar from the recently held Detroit auto show. The present plans are only for a hardtop version of the car but a roadster remains a possibility.

The Porsche 918 RSR is clearly a modern-day machine chimera – a super sports car that features the technology of the Porsche 911 GT3 R hybrid and the design of the Porsche 918 Spyder. The Porsche 911 GT3 R hybrid -- referred to internally as the "Race Lab" -- was one of the spotlights at the different racing events across the world.

Whether it was racing on the famed Nürburgring Nordschleife circuit, competing at the American Le Mans Series races (ALMS) in Road Atlanta (United States), or taking part in the ILMC event in Zhuhai, China, the Porsche 911 GT3 R hybrid was able to showcase what it can really do in terms of performance under real-world racing conditions against top race cars.

Porsche Motorsport has been very impressed with the performance of 911 GT3 R Hybrid, especially because this race car is not only intelligently more powerful, but is also very reliable and very efficient in terms of fuel economy. Moreover, Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid gets extra power from its own dynamics during braking. Now, this technology from the Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid is being fused to the Porsche 918 RSR mid-engine coupé, which is technically the racing version of the 918 Spyder concept car.

Porsche has been one of the few preachers of the design philosophy called “form follows function.” This has been the case for a number of classic Porsche long-distance race cars like the Porsche 908 long-tale coupé (1969) and the Porsche 917 short-tail coupé (1971).

For the Porsche 918 RSR, its form is influenced by its racing laboratory function. It features elegant flowing lines, dynamic air intakes, muscular wheel arches and a pulpit-like cockpit as well as a visible fan wheel between the ram air intake tubes and a rear spoiler with RS Spyder dimensions.

It is wrapped in a new "liquid metal chrome blue" finish that superbly highlights the curves of the forms, while its brake calipers and longitudinal stripes are done in orange. As expected, the Porsche 918 RSR features a lightweight and stiff carbon fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP) monocoque that accommodates an evolution of the direct injection engine of the RS Spyder race car. This evolved engine now provides up to 563 hp at 10,300/rpm, as reinforced by the electric motors on each of two front wheels.

These motors provide 75 kW each (total 150 kW), which means the Porsche 918 RSR has an accessible peak power of 767 hp. This extra power is generated during braking and is stored in an optimized flywheel accumulator.

Moreover, these motors come with a torque vectoring function with variable torque distribution to the front axle, which further improves the agility and steering response of the Porsche 918 RSR. The car’s engine is mated to a six-speed constant-mesh racing transmission derived from RS Spyder race car. Drivers could operate its longitudinally mounted shafts as well as straight-toothed spur gears through the two shift paddles mounted behind the RSR’s racing steering wheel.

At first and even at closer look, the Porsche 918 RSR is truly an experimental racing lab, as evidenced by an array of functional equipment loaded onto it. These include distinctive doors that open at an angle upwards and the air intake in the roof between the wing doors as well as the two roof-mounted aerials for pit radio and telemetry and the quick-action locks on the front and rear CFRP lids. Other experimental features include RS Spyder-like lateral front flics, the air splitters beneath the front lip, and the racing slicks on 19-inch wheels with central locking.

Topics: porsche, sports car

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